The state human rights commission has held police negligence responsible for SFI activist Sudipta Gupta’s death and recommended that the state pay Rs 10 lakh to his family as compensation.
The commission made the recommendation — not binding on the government — keeping in mind Gupta’s “young age and brilliant career”.
The commission has also recommended a compensation of Rs 3 lakh for another SFI activist, Joseph Ajam Hossain, who alleged that the police had not taken him to hospital after he was injured during a law-violation programme that Sudipta, too, had attended.
Sudipta was arrested after the April 2 event at Esplanade and died while being taken to Presidency jail along with other activists in a bus hired by the police. Medical experts had concluded that he had died after he fell off the bus while it was taking a sharp turn and hit his head against a lamp post.
“The unfortunate incident could have been averted had the police been more careful in handling the law-violation programme,” commission chief Justice Asok Ganguly said.
The panel observed that the man who was driving the bus that was ferrying the activists did not have a driving licence and there were not enough escorts in the crowded vehicle to prevent the activists from hanging out.
Will the government accept the panel’s recommendation for compensation? “Once we receive the order, we will prepare a file and put it up before the chief minister,” said a home department official.
The government’s record, however, is far from encouraging. It has declined to carry out the panel’s order to pay Rs 50,000 to professor Ambikesh Mahapatra, who was arrested for allegedly circulating a mail containing a cartoon lampooning the chief minister.